) — Giannis Antetokounmpo
finished one of the greatest NBA Finals
ever with 50 points — and a championship that Milwaukee had waited 50 years to win.
Antetokounmpo scored 50 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and blocked five shots as the Milwaukee Bucks
defeated the Phoenix Suns
105-98 on Tuesday night to take a four-game series lead.
Antetokounmpo scored 40 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the third time
this series, capping off a dominant debut finals performance that ranks among the game's best.
He shot 16 for 25 from the field and an incredible 17-of-19 free throws — a spectacular performance for any shooter, let alone one who was hitting only 55.6% in the postseason and was mocked at times for it.
The Milwaukee Bucks are WORLD CHAMPIONS!! pic.twitter.com/yB73gbUJyk — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 21, 2021
With 20 seconds left, he hopped around the court waving his arms to get the crowd to cheer, but it was too late.
Their voices had been booming inside and outside for hours by that point, having waited 50 years for a winner since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson led the Bucks to the title in 1971.
In a season where fans
were scarce, the Bucks had 65,000 of them crammed into the Deer
District outside, a wild party that was expected to last well into the Midwestern night.
Inside, fans chanted, "Bucks in 6! Bucks in 6!" What started as a hopeful boast by a former player turned out to be a prophetic rallying cry.
The Bucks became the fifth team in NBA Finals history
to win after trailing 2-0, and the first to do so by winning the next four games since Miami
defeated Dallas in 2006.
scored 26 points to end his first NBA Finals appearance in his 16th season, while Devin Booker
added 19 points but shot 8 for 22 and missed all seven 3-point attempts after scoring 40 points in each of the previous two games.
The teams that joined the NBA as expansion clubs in 1968 put on a great show in the finals, with the last three games all hanging in the balance until late in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks won them largely because of Antetokounmpo, a two-time regular-season MVP who improved even more in the finals and was named NBA Finals MVP.